Chairman Andrea Radrizzani said he was forced to act due to the club’s “precarious position” in the Premier League.
“This has been the toughest decision I have had to make during my tenure at Leeds United, taking into account all the success Marcelo has had at the club.
“With Marcelo as our head coach, we had three incredible campaigns and the good times returned to Elland Road. He changed the culture of the club and brought a winning mentality to us all.
“The moments created, particularly in the 2019/20 season and winning promotion to the Premier League, will, of course, live long in all our memories, me and the fans included.
“However, I have to act in the best interest of the club and I believe a change is required now in order to secure our Premier League status.”
The former Argentina manager, who took charge at Elland Road in 2018, will be remembered as one of the most important managers in the club’s history.
Premier League return
He ended Leeds’ 16-year absence from the Premier League and then delivered a top-10 finish in their first season back in swashbuckling style.
But their second season in the top flight has been blighted by injuries and increasing questions over Bielsa’s tactics.
Bielsa has been deprived of key players for large chunks of the season, including forward Patrick Bamford and midfielder Kalvin Phillips.
His tactics and refusal to switch from his renowned style also came under fire as the 60 goals they have conceded is the worst in the division by some distance.
Bielsa leaves with the club in 16th position, two points from safety and in real danger of returning to the Championship.
Marsch, 48, has been heavily linked with the Leeds job. He has been out of work since leaving Bundesliga side RB Leipzig last year but is best known for his work at New York Red Bulls and RB Salzburg.
Leeds are next in action when they visit Leicester Saturday.
Director of football Victor Orta added: “Since arriving at Leeds United Marcelo had a huge impact on the club, on a scale I have not seen before.”
He added: “It is disappointing his reign has had to end in this manner, given the special times we have enjoyed in recent years, which have been some of the best in my career, but we cannot hide from recent results.”
Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel has sacked his Chief of Staff, Akparawa Ephraim Inyangeyen, with immediate effect.
The sack was contained in a letter signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, dated 22nd February and addressed to the former Chief of Staff.
The SSG, Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem, said that the sack became necessary due to the urgent need to match skill set and competencies to the task of maintaining the momentum of economic development required in the state.
“On behalf of His Excellency, the Governor, government and the good people of Akwa Ibom State, I write to convey to you His Excellency, the Governor’s profound appreciation of the worthy contributions you made to the development of our dear State while you served as Chief of Staff to the Governor,” the letter partly read.
“However, given the urgent need to match skill set and competencies to the task of maintaining the momentum of economic development in peace, your services are no longer required and you are hereby relieved of your position, as Chief of Staff ( CoS) to His Excellency, the Governor with immediate effect.”
The release did not name any replacement for the former chief of staff.
“Watford Football Club confirms the departure of Head Coach Claudio Ranieri,” a club statement said.
Watford are second bottom of the table, two points from safety, after losing seven of their last eight league games.
They are without a victory in nine games in all competitions, their longest winless run since 2013.
Watford’s owners, the Pozzo family, felt they had to act now to give the team a chance as they battle to avoid relegation after last season’s promotion from the Championship.
“The Hornets’ Board recognises Claudio as a man of great integrity and honour, who will always be respected here at Vicarage Road for his efforts in leading the team with dignity,” the statement said.
“However the Board feels that, with nearly half of the Premier League campaign remaining, a change in the Head Coach position now will give a new appointment sufficient time to work with a talented squad to achieve the immediate goal of retaining Premier League status.
“No further club comment will be made until this new appointment is confirmed in due course.”
Ranieri famously won a fairytale Premier League title with Leicester in 2016, but his spells in the English top-tier have been far less successful since then.
At Fulham, he was axed after just 106 days in charge in 2019, with the club eventually relegated from the Premier League after his dismissal.
Ranieri’s Watford reign started ominously after Liverpool thrashed them 5-0 in his first game.
Amid talk of player unrest at his methods, Watford’s 4-1 win against Manchester United in November was Ranieri’s second and final victory with the club.
The former Chelsea boss departed Vicarage Road having lost 11 of his 14 matches.
Since Javi Gracia’s exit in 2019, Watford have now sacked further five managers.
The Hornets are looking for their 15th manager since the Pozzo family bought the club in 2012.
Watford will hope to have a new manager in place in time for their crucial showdown at fellow strugglers Burnley on February 5.
They have been linked with Diego Martinez, a Spaniard who left his job as Granada boss last May.
The decision came months after Nigeria lost at home to the lowly-rated Central Africa Republic (CAR), and survived a nervy game against Cape Verde to book a place in the playoff stage of the 2022 World Cup qualifier.
Days after Rohr’s dismissal, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, Amaju Pinnick, explained that the decision had to be made to avoid disaster.
According to him, the German had lost the dressing and indiscipline was rife in the team.
The former Super Eagles defender explained that he also did not see Rohr’s sack coming.
“I would say I was shocked, I was surprised when my name was announced after a brief discussion but I thought Gernot Rohr will continue because it has always been, ‘Is he going to continue? Is he not going to continue?’ We’re going to sort things out,” Eguavoen told Channels Television.
“And then when my bosses spoke to me about it a couple of days ago I was like why not but is there a possibility that we can sort things out with him.”
Money Rain For Akwa United
Away from Rohr’s sack, Governor Emmanuel Udom rewarded Akwa United following their title-winning feat in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
Udom in a ceremony to honour the team at the Government House in Uyo on Thursday promised them N100m, a bus, and a plot of land each to the players.
The Akwa Ibom Governor aside from the reward also urged the team to build on their league victory in the coming season.
While Akwa United will be waiting for the start of the NPFL to defend their crown, matches have already started in the women’s league better known as the Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL).
The league which began last weekend is already in Match Day 2. Fourteen teams will be competing in two groups of seven teams each.
Rivers Angels, last season’s winners, have started their title defense and have four points from two games played so far. But Bayelsa Queens are the leaders in Group A with four points having scored more goals.
In Group B of the NWFL, Confluence Queens led the chart after winning two of their games played so far.
Okpekpe Race Returns
World Athletics has confirmed May 28, 2022, as the new date for the eighth Okpekpe International Road Race.
The decision is coming after the competition was twice moved – in 2021 and 2020 – due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of Pamodzi Sports Marketing – organisers of the competition – Mike Itemuagbor, the road race will be back in a better form.
“We have done all the documentation required and we are delighted that World Athletics has confirmed the date we set for the race,” he said, adding that the Okpekpe Road Race will be held in line with COVID-19 guidelines.
The European Club Association, which represents leading clubs across the continent, is among leading voices calling for the postponement of the competition billed for Cameroon early next year.
With a host of African top stars playing in Europe, several big clubs are expected to lose players for at least to three-week.
Worried by the outbreak of the Omicron variant and a “suitable medical and operational protocol for the AFCON tournament,” ECA is threatening that the clubs will not release players for the competition. Amid clamours for the postponement, CAF insists the AFCON will hold as planned.
UEFA Draw Drama
In Europe, the UEFA Champions League knockout draws were held earlier in the week but an “error” from the organisers meant it had to be redone.
UEFA blamed a “material error” due to a “technical problem with the software of an external service provider” as it announced that the draw for the first knockout round of its flagship competition would be redone at 1400 GMT. The full fixtures for the knockout phase of the Champions League can be found here.
Aguero Bows Out
Two days after the Champions League knockout phase draws, Argentine star, Sergio Aguero retired from football, ending a career that saw him score 260 goals for Manchester City.
The 33-year-old, who recently moved to Barcelona and only managed five games, broke down in tears while announcing his retirement from the game in a press conference.
Compatriot, Lionel Messi, was among the first set of people to pay tribute to the former Atletico Madrid forward both of whom won the Copa America earlier this summer.
COVID-19 Ravages EPL
Aguero’s retirement was not the only health-related issue in European football this week. The English Premier League is battling a wave of COVID-19 infections. Owing to the resurgence of the disease, several league games have been called off but opinions are divided on moves for a COVID-19 break.
Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp, is among those who maintain the league should continue while his Arsenal counterpart, Mikel Arteta, is calling for fairness before a decision is taken on the matter.
England is also not the only nation where the virus is disrupting football. In Spain, several Real Madrid players have contracted the disease.
F1 Great Hamilton Knighted
And just days after missing out on a record-breaking eighth Formula One title in controversial fashion, Lewis Hamilton was knighted by the Prince of Wales at Windsor Castle on Wednesday.
The 36-year-old was recognised in the New Year Honours list for services to motorsport following a year in which he broke Michael Schumacher’s all-time tally for Grand Prix wins and emulated the German by winning a seventh world title.
On Sunday, however, championship rival Max Verstappen won his first Formula One world title after a season-long battle with Hamilton came down to a one-lap shoot-out in Abu Dhabi.
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has sacked his Commissioner for Health, Professor Princewill Chike.
Governor Wike announced this at the State Executive Council Chambers on Monday during a courtesy visit by officials of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria who were in Government House to intimate him about their national conference holding in Port Harcourt.
The governor was enraged that the sacked commissioner solely approved the hosting of the conference without due process.
He said he only learnt about the conference through a text message from the commissioner while on a foreign trip soliciting for the provision of logistics without prior information in private or during executive council meetings
According to him, the poor execution of plan by Professor Chike brought his administration to disrupt, coupled with the fact that the courtesy visit by the health body clashed with the state executive council’s approved date for the continuation of projects commissioning.
The governor, therefore, asked the commissioner to excuse the meeting before attending to the officials of the Medical and Dental Council, where he promised to further improve healthcare service delivery in Rivers State.
The Kaduna State Government has sacked 233 teachers for presenting fake certificates upon the time of their recruitment.
Tijjani Abdullahi, the Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board disclosed this on Thursday during a press conference in Kaduna.
He said the teachers were sacked after inquiries from the institutions they claimed to have attended, which showed that they presented fake certificates.
The decision to investigate the certificates of the teachers, the SUBEB Chairman explained, commenced in April 2021 as part of the board’s responsibility to ensure that all teachers actually have the qualifications they presented.
According to him, the major objective of the exercise is to ensure that all our teachers have the requisite credentials that constitute the basic qualifications for employment as teachers.
The Kaduna SUBEB Chairman added that 451 certificates have so far been verified by contacting the institutions that awarded the certificates, while nine of the 13 institutions contacted have responded.
“So far, the Board has verified 451certificates by contacting the institutions that awarded the certificates. Nine of the 13 institutions contacted have responded, as of today,” he said.
“The responses from the institutions show that 233 teachers presented fake certificates. This represents 51% of the 451 certificates on which responses have been received from the awarding institutions. One institution disowned 212 of these 233 fake certificates.
“The Board will dismiss the 233 teachers who presented these fake certificates, while their files will be forwarded to the Ministry of Justice to initiate prosecution for forgery. The Board will continue to check the integrity of the certificates presented by teachers to ensure that this critical profession is not devalued by impostors.
“As part of our duty of transparency, the names of the 233 teachers found to have presented fake certificates will be uploaded on the website of the Kaduna State Government today.”
The Board also announced that it will conduct a fresh competency test for 12,254 teachers from January 2022 as part of continuous assessment of its teachers both for their own improvement and for better delivery of learning.
It will be recalled that the Kaduna State Government had in 2017 recruited 25,000 new teachers after it sacked over 22,000 unqualified ones following a competency.
Cristiano Ronaldo paid tribute on Monday to “outstanding human being” Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after the Norwegian was sacked as Manchester United manager.
Ronaldo, who returned to Old Trafford in August, has scored nine times in 13 games for United this season but has failed to prevent the club’s slide down the Premier League table after a series of embarrassing results.
Solskjaer was sacked on Sunday, less than 24 hours after United’s humiliating 4-1 defeat at Watford, which followed chastening home losses to Liverpool and Manchester City.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he hopes to have left Manchester United in a better state than he inherited them three years ago after the Norwegian was sacked by the club on Sunday.
A 4-1 thrashing at the hands of lowly Watford finally saw the axe fall on Solskjaer’s position after the club’s hierarchy kept faith with the 48-year-old in recent weeks despite humiliating home defeats to rivals Liverpool and Manchester City.
“This club means everything to me and together we’re a good match, but unfortunately I couldn’t get the results we needed and it’s time for me to step aside,” Solskjaer said in an interview with United’s in-house media.
“You know what this club means to me and what I wanted to achieve here. For the club, for the fans, for the players, for the staff. I wanted us to take the next step to challenge for the league, to win trophies.”
Solskjaer was handed the job on an interim basis in December 2018 thanks to his legendary status at the club after scoring the winning goal in the 1999 Champions League final to complete a historic treble.
Here are four times Manchester United lost semi-final encounters under Solskjaer:
2020/21: Man Utd 0-2 Man City (Carabao Cup)
With the COVID-19 pandemic halting sports globally, the Carabao Cup semi-final was a single-legged affair.
But Manchester United, in their fourth semi-final encounter under the Norwegian coach, crumbled 0-2 in the hands of neighbours Manchester City.
Brazil’s Fernandinho was on song during the game, wrapping up a match that also saw John Stones getting on the scorer’s sheet.
2019/20: Sevilla 2-1 Man Utd (Europa League)
After taking a first-half advantage via a Bruno Fernandes goal. However, they were pegged back just before the break. United missed several chances before Luuk De Jong punished them with a winner with 12 minutes to go. It’s the team’s third semi-final defeat under Solskjaer.
2019/20: Chelsea 3-1 Man Utd (FA Cup)
The second semi-final defeat for United since the arrival of the club legend ended their 19-match unbeaten streak. It was also the third time in four terms that Chelsea had eliminated the Red Devils from the competition.
2019/20: Man Utd 1-3 Man City; Man City 0-1 Man Utd (agg 2-3) – Carabao Cup
In a classic display for Pep Guardiola’s men, Manchester United blew away Solskjaer’s boys, taking a massive 3-0 lead under 30 minutes.
English striker Marcus Rashford got a consolation goal for United in the second half in the first leg encounter.
In the second leg encounter, Manchester United won 3-2 but that was inadequate to see them through to the final.
Manchester United ended Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s three-year reign as manager at Old Trafford on Sunday, but plan to wait until the end of the season to name the Norwegian’s permanent successor.
Saturday’s 4-1 embarrassment at the hands of struggling Watford was the final straw for the United board, who had stuck by Solskjaer in recent weeks despite humiliating home defeats to Liverpool and Manchester City.
Former midfielder Michael Carrick, who was part of Solskjaer’s coaching team, will take charge of the forthcoming games while the club look to appoint an interim manager till the end of the season.
“Manchester United announces that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has left his role as Manager,” the club said in a statement.
“Ole will always be a legend at Manchester United and it is with regret that we have reached this difficult decision. While the past few weeks have been disappointing, they should not obscure all the work he has done over the past three years to rebuild the foundations for long-term success.”
Solskjaer leaves with United already realistically out of the Premier League title race, 12 points behind leaders Chelsea down in seventh in the table, and having exited the League Cup.
Carrick’s first game in charge will be a crucial Champions League trip to Villarreal on Tuesday.
Another defeat in Spain would leave the Red Devils needing both results in the final round of matches in Group F to go their way to avoid crashing out at the group stage for a second consecutive season.
A run of five defeats in Solskjaer’s final seven league games contrasts sharply with the anticipation that surrounded the club in August when Cristiano Ronaldo made a surprise return to Old Trafford in the final days of the transfer window.
United also spent over £100 million ($134 million) on Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane as they looked to build on finishing second in the league to Manchester City last season.
However, Solskjaer was unable to assemble the pieces of his star-studded squad into a collective unit despite Ronaldo’s return of nine goals in 14 games.
“We don’t know what to do with the ball, we don’t know how to defend properly and we’re conceding a lot of goals,” said United goalkeeper David de Gea, whose double penalty save from Watford’s Ismaila Sarr counted for nothing.
“It’s not acceptable for this club and the level of players that we have. It’s another nightmare.”
Solskjaer had ridden out storms before in a rollercoaster but ultimately trophyless three years.
However, even his credit as a club legend for scoring the winning goal in the 1999 Champions League final to win a historic treble for Alex Ferguson’s side was fading as he was booed by the travelling support at Vicarage Road.
“Thank you Ole. You did us proud,” said former United captain Gary Neville, who has been criticised for not calling for his former teammate to be sacked in his punditry.
“The last two months were tough but before that you restored some soul into the club.”
Zinedine Zidane, who won three Champions League titles with Ronaldo and Varane at Real Madrid, is the bookmakers’ favourite to succeed Solskjaer, with Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers and Ajax boss Erik ten Hag also in contention.
But the decision to wait until the summer to make a permanent appointment could open up a wider pool of potential candidates, including Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino, who has previously been linked with the job.
Two lecturers of the Federal Polytechnic Bauchi have been dismissed after being found guilty of sexual harassment.
The rector of the polytechnic, Architect Sanusi Gumau confirmed the dismissal during a press briefing and said the decision to sack the staff was reached at the 98th sitting of the Governing Council of the polytechnic which held on Saturday.
Channels Television gathered that the lecturers found guilty are Abubakar Baba of the General Studies Department and Adebusoye Sunday of the Nutrition and Dietetic Department.
Gumau explained that haven received complaints from the students, the lecturers were immediately queried and various committees were set up to investigate the matter and after studying the reports of the committees the governing council issued a final verdict to fire the lecturers.
“This issue of Isa Baba came up on 4th August 2021. The extant rule of the poly, if an issue of this magnitude happened, the complainant has right and immediately when she wrote, the registrar that very evening was in my house that evening together with the head of the department,” the rector said.
“I said the staff should be queried. That is the next line of action as per our extant rules of the institution as provided by the Federal Government.”
“When we queried him, he replied and when the reply was not satisfactory, we established a committee to investigate the matter to a logical conclusion.
“The Senior Staff Appointment, Promotion and Disciplinary Committee met and invited the suspect, we cross-examined them here, made the recommendation to the Council and the Council today has finally approved the dismissal of Abubakr Musa Baba of the Federal Poly Bauchi.
“The same case of Mr Adebusoye Sunday is also dismissed with effect from today, which is the decision of the council on this.”
He said their dismissal letters will be handed to the security agencies and other government agencies that assisted in the investigation.
A human rights group, Prison Inmate Development had earlier taken up the case and accused the polytechnic of trying to cover up an alleged case of rape but the polytechnic in its defence said the case has since August been under investigation and only reached a conclusion yesterday.
Meanwhile, 30 students of the polytechnic have been expelled for various offenses of malpractice and certificate forgery.
Governor Nasir El-Rufai has fired 19 political appointees in the state as part of his administration’s move to “rightsize” the public service in the state.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communications Muyiwa Adekeye announced the development in a statement on Wednesday.
Two special advisers, one deputy chief of staff and several special assistants are among those affected by the decision, which followed the recent controversial layoffs in the state that led to the now-suspended industrial action by organised labour in the state last week.
The Deputy Chief of Legislative Staff, Bala Yunusa Mohammed; and two of his special assistants – Halima Musa Nagogo and Umar Abubakar – were among those fired.
Also sacked were Ben Kure (Special Adviser on Politics) and his special assistants – Mustapha Lynda Nyusha and Jamilu Gwarzala Dan Mutum, as well as Umar Haruna, a Special Assistant on Politics.
Others are the Special Adviser (Social Development), Zainab Shehu; Special Assistant to the Special Adviser, Stephen Hezron; Senior Special Assistant (Stakeholders Relations), Mohammed Bello Shuaibu; and the Senior Special Assistant on Youth, Aliyu Haruna.
The Special Assistant Creative Arts, Halima Idris; the Director-General of Public Procurement Authority, Engr Aliyu Alhaji Salihu; Special Assistant Community Relations; Ashiru Zuntu, and a Senior Special Assistant, Saida Sa’ad, were affected as well.
Also on the list are the Special Assistant Programmes, Elias Yahaya; Special Assistant to the Secretary to Kaduna State Government, Tasiu Suleiman Yakaii; the Special Assistant on Economic Matters, Samuel Hadwayah; and the Senior Special Assistant Environment, Ahmed Mohammed Gero.
The governor thanked the departing officials for their services to the state and wished them well in their future endeavours.